Asbestos is made of six silicate minerals that are found naturally. In the 1800s, asbestos became popular because of the many benefits it possessed:
- it absorbs sound,
- resists fire and heat damage,
- doesn’t conduct electricity well,
- it’s affordable and
- has a high tensile strength.
All water bodies that contain asbestos must be filtered through special high-efficiency filters to eliminate particles that are 5 microns or larger.
The two main sources of asbestos in drinking water are the decay of asbestos-cement water main pipes and the erosion of natural deposits.
Although asbestos cement pipes are no longer being installed in many countries because of the complications that arise from handling them, this does not seem to be a cause for concern regarding the safety of those who consume water distributed through these pipes.
There also appear to be no programs specifically designed to replace asbestos cement pipes due to health concerns.
Can asbestos be dissolved in water?
Asbestos fibers do not dissolve in water, they are not water-soluble and they do not evaporate. Small diameter fibers can remain suspended in the air for an extended period, where they may be carried long distances by wind or water before settling.
Asbestos fibers cannot dissolve in water, which means that once they enter pipes, they are transported directly into homes and businesses. Fortunately, most asbestos fibers found in drinking water are less than one-millionth of a meter long and aren’t considered dangerous.
Larger diameter fibers settle more quickly and are often found near the source of asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos fibers that have settled in soil or water may be re-suspended into the air by human activities, such as digging, walking, or driving on unpaved roads.
If asbestos enters the soil or drinking water, people may unknowingly ingest small quantities of its fibers. Even though asbestos does not dissolve in water, over time erosion from natural sources (or exposure to asbestos-cement or filters) can contaminate water with dangerous levels of fibers.
If you are concerned that your drinking water may be contaminated with asbestos, you should contact your local water authority. They will be able to test your water and advise you on the best course of action.
How do you filter asbestos out of water?
One of the best ways to keep your water supply clean and free from contaminants is to install a water filtration system.
This can be as simple as a model that attaches directly to your tap, a filter underneath your sink connected to your mains supply, or a water pitcher with a built-in filter. Some people may also opt for more modern options, like whole-house filtration systems or under-sink models.
A filtration system with a 1 micron or smaller (microfiltration, ultrafiltration & nanofiltration) filter will significantly reduce asbestos present in water. A reverse osmosis system will also remove asbestos, but may not necessarily be for everyone.
It’s important to note that no filtration system will completely remove all asbestos from your water – the best you can hope for is a significant reduction. If you’re concerned about your exposure to asbestos, it’s always best to speak with a certified professional.
What is asbestos filtration?
Asbestos filtration is the process of removing asbestos fibers from water. This can be done using a variety of methods, but the most common is to install a water filtration system.
There are many different types of water filters on the market, and not all of them are equally effective at removing asbestos. The most effective filters are those that have a micron rating of 1 or less. These filters will remove more than 99% of the asbestos fibers from your water.
It’s important to note that no filter is 100% effective, and even the best filters will only reduce the amount of asbestos in your water, not eliminate it completely.
What filter do you need for asbestos?
The type of filter you need depends on the level of asbestos in your water and your personal level of concern. If you’re only worried about very low levels of asbestos, a simple countertop or under-sink filter may be sufficient.
For higher levels of asbestos, or if you’re concerned about exposure, a whole-house filtration system or reverse osmosis system may be a better option. These systems are more expensive and require professional installation, but they will remove more of the asbestos fibers from your water.
If you’re concerned about asbestos in your water, the best thing to do is speak with a certified professional. They can test your water and advise you on the best course of action.